Blues Funeral’s debut album The Search is an unexpected idea that will catch the listener off-guard at first hearing with progressive guitar harmonies that stand out unapologetically from a cloud of 70’s psychedelic dust. This surprising contrast is taken to abysmal levels throughout the album, which is as strange as it is musically rich. The combination of vintage rock and progressive metal is in itself contradictory, given the former’s hypnotically repetitive nature and the latter’s dynamic and melodic tendencies. Yet, against all odds, Houston’s Blues Funeral managed to find equilibrium between these two forces and deliver a musical proposal that makes sense.
This album shows its true nature from the first song, Autumn Dream, with a long intro that unleashes the play of the two guitars slowly and calmly growing towards a crescendo, while the drums reveal the band’s vintage foundation with a bluesy rhythm, and a distinct bass joins the string harmony, bringing the track to a succession of verses evocative of early heavy metal. The appearance of the organ early in this song sets the mood for a journey back in time, while the clean singing energizes the atmosphere with a powerful and evidently trained voice and vocal harmonies in strategic places.
The second track, Harbinger, begins like a typical 80’s heavy metal song, with repetitive patterns of riffs and verses, but takes a crazy turn towards the middle with the clinking of bells and a brilliant and complex dynamic of rhythms and harmonies. Vocals appear more evident in the third track, Planet Void, where the main vocalist shows his wide range and a style that is normally found in power/prog bands, while being easy on the ears, yielding a natural and effortless impression. The progressive genius continues in the fourth track, Paragon of Virtue, a mellow song that changes unexpectedly towards the end, and paves the way for the track called The Search, which is the album’s opus magnum and has a duration of almost ten minutes.
In the track The Search, the blues influence is apparent in the rhythm, guitars and singing after a tasteful short intro of heavy guitars. The organ returns with full force with that old circus music tinge reminiscent of The Doors, playing throughout the song relentlessly and underlying a long groovy guitar solo. The last track, Palmdale, breaks the pattern of the album with a faster beat, a grungy, noisy sound in the guitars and drums and raspy, more aggressive vocals.
Overall, The Search is an objectively good album. Music enthusiasts of all walks of life could appreciate the great musicianship in its guitar riffs and solos, note patterns and careful composition of each song as well the success that was the integration of genres that normally would have nothing to do with each other. The lyrics are well-written and contain rich poetic language with plenty of metaphors, telling little dark stories, while the vocals are easy to assimilate although not quite distinctive or unique. The slow tempo and simple drumming keep the music grounded on its vintage roots, while the guitars add the complex and variable element of the more modern and melodic metal sphere.
YouTube link to the full album:
Release date: 30-07-2016
Reviewer: Isabel Osanna Andujar